Ever have those seasons where your back is against the wall & there seems to be no way out? I think Moses felt that way when Pharoah was chasing the Israelites & they were facing the Red Sea. Occasionally, I feel this way as well and sometimes when I’m in these predicaments, it’s easy to get discouraged. But here are a few things that have been helpful to me:
*keep my eyes on Jesus & off of what seems impossible (Ps 25:15)
*pray gratitude prayers, thanking God for Their amazing presence, power & solutions
*do the immediate thing that is the next step – sometimes we get overwhelmed w big things, but taking 1 step can be easier to do
*manage the people inputs in your life – faith, encouragement & confidence are essential ingredients to combat doubt & fear
Do you some ideas that have been helpful to you in seemingly grim situations? Please feel free to comment 🙂
When I was in my early twenties, I read the autobiography of Malcolm X and found it to be really disturbing. For much of his life, Malcolm was a proponent & participant of violence against the white establishment, which had been extremely cruel to him and his family. In contrast, Martin Luther King Jr was an advocate of nonviolence and steady & assertive pressure against the white establishment. Clearly, there were plenty of justified reasons for both men to adamantly oppose the white establishment, but they chose different paths. Both men were born and assassinated at similar times, but today we honor the memory, methods and practices of Martin Luther King Jr.
When we are treated unfairly in our lives, the shortcut reply is to return injustice for injustice. Such reactions seem to be the normal human reaction. In contrast, the heroes who most readily capture our attention & admiration are those individuals who decided to step out of the eye-for-eye quagmire and to live at a higher level of moral authority: good trumps bad, love trumps evil and forgiveness trumps retribution. Admittedly, these are extremely difficult choices and in my mind, we cannot make these noble choices without the help and power of God working in our hearts and thoughts 🙂
This school year, my daughter signed up to play her first year of basketball & to say that I was happy would be a massive understatement! Elated, excited, thrilled, joyful, exuberant & more would be more accurate 🙂
As the season has progressed, even though I didn’t want to admit this to myself, her interest & enthusiasm for playing basketball has waned, and this week, I had to have a stern conversation with her about finishing what we start & not quitting when we make a commitment (integrity 101). I hated having this conversation w her because I was very different than she is, in the sense of totally enjoying basketball. I was on the other end of the spectrum, shooting & practicing by myself just for my sheer enjoyment. As I’ve been thinking about this difference, I’ve also noticed that she really enjoys her piano lessons & practice – she will take her own initiative & practice even extra piano. For me, piano practice was a slippery shortcut from purgatory to hell ,)
Having said all of this, I’ve come to the happy conclusion that we are different & that’s totally wonderful! God has made Isabell different than me, in the same way that I am different from my mom & such differences aren’t bad – they are divinely inspired! So, my lesson is that God has lots of ways to express majesty, beauty & splendor, using amazing differences to catch our attention 🙂
If you’re like me, from time to time, we make bad decisions. I don’t like it when I make a bad decision & I like the consequences even less. But what is worse than making a bad decision is not learning from such mistakes. So here’s a few things that might be helpful when dealing with bad decisions:
*mistakes & failures are an essential ingredient of success
*beating yourself up over mistakes adds zero value – own the mistake & mistake & move on
*blaming someone else tends to minimize our personal learning experience with the mistake or bad decision
*dont let the fear of a bad decision or mistakes paralyze you from trying
*consider all the people in the Bible who made mistakes & you’ll start feeling better quickly ,)
This morning I read about Zacheus, the wee little man who climbed up in a syacmore tree, so that he could get a better glimpse of Jesus. In this very brief story, we see that Zacheus was a tax collector & not popular with the general public (maybe like our IRS – smile). Nevertheless, his interest in Jesus compelled him to do something that was out of the ordinary – maybe he was used to doing these kinds of things since he was a wee little man ,)
Whatever was his normal behavior, he caught Jesus’ attention and Jesus was happy to visit Zacheus’ house – the beginning of Zacheus’ transformation. When we genuinely look for & accept Jesus for Who He really is, then our lives change. Our relationship with Jesus is about living a transformational life more than being a religious follower of Jesus 🙂
When I look at Jesus’ life, He left LOTS of results: healings, redemption, restoration, forgiveness, resurrection and BOATLOADS more!!! It seems to me that wherever Jesus went, He left a trail of astounding, outrageous and highly desirable results. Because of these results, He was quite popular. Get around Jesus and:
- your blindness will be removed;
- your brokenness will be repaired;
- your deafness will be healed;
- your death will be resurrected along with SO MUCH MORE!
Like the people in Jesus’ day, I think we all want these things in our lives. But also like the people in Jesus’ day, I’m not so sure that we always want the Cause of these results. In actual truth, Jesus had very few followers compared to the amazing number of fans who liked Him for His results. When we become legitimate followers of Jesus, we are continually changing and making adjustments so that Jesus can have more maneuvering space in our lives – increasing His presence / Cause and His effects 🙂
Don’t settle for the special effects when you can have the Original Cause 🙂
A few years ago, I did a fair amount of fasting & was totally enthralled with the amazing spiritual experiences I had from fasting. I have to say that some of these experiences were nothing short of indescribable & I quickly became a fasting advocate.
Here are some quick benefits from spiritual fasting: I hear & sense God more fully, there’s an intimacy with God that’s deeply satisfying & I wrestle out some questions & challenges.
So here’s a few quick practical points for spiritual fasting:
*spiritual fasting isn’t the same as dieting so it should include some extra praying & time spent w God
*fasting can happen in lots of configurations: Daniel fast (no meats & sweets – Dan 9-10), a meal a day, fasting social media, etc
*drink lots of water & be patient
*consider keeping a journal during your fast & pay extra attention to what God is saying & to God’s presence